The Cycle | January 25, 2013
>>> we are now in day five of the frigid cold snap and talk about adding insult to injury. fast moving winter storm bringing snow and ice to midwest and south and northeast.
>> this is new video of chicago where about an inch has fallen today and as we establish with nate, snowing currently in d.c.
>> good job.
>> this is a big deal in chicago, though. the windy city a record 335 days without any measurable snow. while inch by inch they're ending that record today and goes without saying this is another strange season of weather. take here in new york. last weekend we were near 60 degrees and this week we haven't broken the low 20s and it's been awful. and next thursday's expected high is actually 54 which sounds pretty great. while it's harder and harder to predict the weather and coming from krystal ball, it's easy to predict we're living in a time of climate change . the president made it part of the inaugural address . take a look.
>> we will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would threaten our children and future generations. some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science but none can deny the raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
>> joining us now is bob deans with the natural resources defense council . and bob, you know, the prospect for actually passing any big legislation on climate change is pretty grim. the president signaled that he'll do what he can through executive action . how powerful can just what he's able to do himself without congress, how much of an impact could they have?
>> a huge impact, krystal. last fall, the president said cli smart a threat. his opponent said it's a joke. on monday, he showed that he meant what he said calling for climate action and saying if we don't do it, we'll betray our children, personal responsibility. it doesn't get any clearer than that. he's the most important thing he can do. he can reduce the carbon emissions , the carbon pollution that's warming our planet, coming from our power plants . those are the single largest sources of industrial carbon pollution across our country. 40% of the carbon in the country coming from the power plants . the president has the authority under the clean air act to set standards reducing those carbon levels and we have put forth a plan to reduce the levels by 26% by 2020 , which would reduce our national carbon footprint by 10%. it would save consumers money. it would make our generating capacity much more efficient. it is the right thing to do. we need to strike a blow against climate change .
>> bob, i guess picking up on that point then, so if the epa is empowered to set the new standards on emission, why wasn't this done sooner? second of all, with the failure of cap in trade in the last four years, what are we losing then in terms of emissions by having epa action as opposed to comprehensive cap in trade legislation in what's the difference there? what do we lose without cap in trade?
>> what we can do going after the power plants and dealing with 40% of our carbon pollution, cutting that piece of it, builds on what the president was able to do in his first term which is to go after the 30% of the carbon emission that is are coming from the automobiles. and he worked with the auto makers to put in place a plan to reduce our mileage or to improve our mileage, double it, by 2025 which will reduce our carbon footprint from the driving in half. that's a big deal . that's 70% of the carbon emissions in this country that can be dealt with one way or another the first term and the second term. that's progress.
>> bob, we were all just sitting here in the studio wondering if we could get global warming in here. it is freezing in this climate. but that aside, how big do you think a role -- nuclear energy is going to play in all of this?
>> well, we're getting 20% of our electricity from nuclear power and stable for a listening time. the big story in the electricity generation is in wind. wind is now -- came from nowhere to it's now 4% of the electricity in this country. we're getting from wind power and the department of energy says we can grow that to 20% which would be on par with nuclear power in just 15 years if we stay the course and important to continue to invest in the fur which you are that way.
>> bob, i mean, you are talking about the potential progress here in a second term and one of the first decision that is president obama faces right now is the keystone pipeline . and i think there's possible consequences for emissions from approving that. i think the expectation is to be approved. when's the estimate of the epa ? something like over a billion tons of co2 emissions over 50 years could be produced by this pipeline. are you concerned whatever, a lot of good you are seeing here in the second term offset by approving the keystone?
>> the pipeline's bad news. it would be the equivalent, the carbon equivalent of 5 million new cars on the road. that's not the direction to go in. some of the dirtiest oil on the planet. pumping it through the heart of the bread das wet of america.
>> do you agree with the consensus it will happen, he will approve it?
>> we don't. the state department has undertaken a review. we expect results some point but the state department is going to look and john kerry said yesterday that environmental consequences will be part of that study and in that context, the impact on climate is huge. and of course, we're destroying the forest in canada to get the oil out and take twos 0 three times the carbon to get the crude out of the ground as it does to get conventional oil . doesn't make sense and won't help the country. it's a big profit scheme for big oil . we need to put an end to it.